Mental Health Parity discussion in the NYT

A detailed review of the Mental Health Parity movement, and the push to make health insurers cover mental illness on par with physical illness.  No question where I fall on the larger question, but I’d be interested in reviewing any scientific discussion about the ways to show/prove/test for the existence of hormonal/biochemical mental illnesses such as “mere” anxiety and depression– which respond to medication, but which currently aren’t tested for in the bloodstream, or detectable (like bipolar, for example) on MRI or EEG.


7 thoughts on “Mental Health Parity discussion in the NYT

  1. Michelle

    If there is stuff out there on this topic that would be fascinating. I think part of the reason it is not covered on par with physical illnesses is that the diagnosis is still viewed as very “subjective”. I have gone to many different psychiatrists over the years and I have been diagnosed (and treated) for everything from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to Bipolar disorder with the general consensus being Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Moderate Recurring Depression. If there were a way to SEE these illnesses man that would be fantastic. I am taking a class this summer and was thinking of writing a paper on a similar topic.

    As always – thanks for the post!

  2. mad madge

    Thanks for this post. I have always dealt with anxiety and moderate recurring depression. I’ve been in therapy. I’ve been on lexapro — which was great.

    if I stay on top of things — journal, exercise, do yoga, do creative things, etc. it’s manageable. but that’s a lot to keep up when you have a job and two kids.

    my insurance not covering therapy has been a big reason why i haven’t gone back.

  3. Sara

    You can test doing a thing called the dexamethasone suppression test…but the thing is, it can be up in a lot of disorders, so if you get a positive result (which depression gives), you have to investigate…so no one does it. It is kind of complicated and expensive and doesn’t really contribute much.

  4. my sad alter ego

    I can’t believe they still present this as if there is a question as to whether or not mental illness is “real.” Especially when worldwide, mental illnesses are some of the most expensive and disabling that there are. “…a problem, even a choice…”

    This article just made me furious.

  5. Prof. J.

    I once had a sleep test to test for sleep apnea. I did not have apnea, but the doctor informed me that my sleep pattern indicated depression. Well, duh! But I was surprised to learn you could diagnose depression from sleep patterns.

    Evidently, your sleep is backwards when you are depressed–you dream at the beginning of your sleep cycle (if at all).

  6. Emily

    Authors: Caspi A; Sugden K; Moffitt TE; Taylor A; Craig IW; Harrington H; McClay J; Mill J; Martin J; Braithwaite A; Poulton R

    Article title: Influence of life stress on depression: moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene.

    Journal: [Science] 2003 Jul 18; Vol. 301 (5631), pp. 386-9

    Abstract: In a prospective-longitudinal study of a representative birth cohort, we tested why stressful experiences lead to depression in some people but not in others. A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (5-HT T) gene was found to moderate the influence of stressful life events on depression. Individuals with one or two copies of the short allele of the 5-HT T promoter polymorphism exhibited more depressive symptoms, diagnosable depression, and suicidality in relation to stressful life events than individuals homozygous for the long allele. This epidemiological study thus provides evidence of a gene-by-environment interaction, in which an individual’s response to environmental insults is moderated by his or her genetic makeup.

    Ta da!

  7. Gloria, Writer Reading

    A diagnosis in the DSM — psychiatry’s diagnostic and statistical manual– should be enough. There are plenty of medical conditions that are symptom based, without any medical tests as “proof.” Irritable bowel syndrome for one. Also, if it requires medication, that should clearly be covered. Any therapy that is considered a “medical necessity” should be covered, which basically amounts to the person still have symptoms listed in the DSM.


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